The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday stayed the proposed tree felling for re-development of seven south Delhi colonies by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) till July 19, 2018.
The NGT has also issued notice to the central government and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and others over the issue.
A bench headed by Acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim also directed the project proponents to make a categorical statement and inform it about the exact number of trees which are proposed to be cut for the redevelopment project. The Delhi High Court had earlier stayed felling of trees till July 4.
The petitioner – Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions & Promotion of National Awareness – claimed that the clearance was granted without taking into account the adverse effect on the ecology. The plea claimed to plant saplings at another location as compensatory afforestation would not reduce the burden put on the environment due to large-scale felling of trees.
Anil Sood, president of the NGO, said the Centre has given clearance to the projects without considering several factors such as existing population density and the impact of cutting 16,500 trees on the ambient air quality in the area. The petition has made the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Central Pollution Control Board, the Delhi Development Authority, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the CPWD and others as parties in the case.
Several protests were held in the National Capital during last week as environmental activists and residents took to the streets to protest the move. The project had also triggered a political war between the Centre and Arvind Kejriwal led AAP, which blamed each other for the tree cutting in the city.
NBCC and CPWD who were supposed to execute the redevelopment projects in Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Sriniwaspuri, had initially sought permission to cut close to 16,500 trees. After the Delhi Forest Department asked them to revise the project at Sarojini Nagar, wherein permission to cut 11,000 trees was sought, the number was brought down to around 14,000.